The bye week is such an interesting time in the NFL season. The Jacksonville Jaguars had a great start to the season, and fans have started looking forward to next week’s game as opposed to dreading it like past seasons.
Duval faithful did get a week off from the stress of the cardiac cats. And while the NFL slate was amazing on Sunday with four marquee matchups, this article will look at another sport that has just started up.
Jacksonville may not have a professional basketball team but I have an idea for Jaguars fans to keep their minds turning this bye week. While most players may be hanging out with their family, playing golf, or simply relaxing, in my world, the Jaguars have created an NBA team in Northeast Florida -- and instead of having an expansion draft, this team snags players from the local football squad.
This team will be called the Sunshine City Swishers. While I am not a basketball expert, I do have an imagination, and that is what’s important for this exercise. So as you imagine the 1996 Chicago Bulls intro music, let me announce to you your starting five for Jacksonville’s very own professional basketball team.
At point guard, and the only defensive player on this team, is cornerback Tyson Cambell. At 6’ 1” and 194 pounds, he has the size of an NBA point guard. Campbell would have the ability to stretch the floor, and his cornerback play could translate very well into a fast-break offense that could be crucial to any NBA team. Some readers may think that Trevor Lawrence may be a better point guard because of his ability to distribute the ball at the quarterback position. I think his size will be much more useful somewhere else on the hard floor, but don’t worry, he is on the team.
NBA Comparison: Trae Young
At shooting guard, and the first offensive player on the team, is tight end Evan Engram. At 6’ 3” he is a little undersized for the shooting guard position, but as you will notice throughout this article, what our team lacks in height makes up for in weight. Engram is 240 pounds, about 15-30 pounds heavier than the average professional-level shooting guard. These players have the ability to shoot and can also drive to the hoop. As a tight end, Engram needs to be able to block and catch, and this is why I think his skills on the football field will translate well to a basketball court. Engram is already an athletic and fast-bodied player, and his physical toughness will do well on the basketball court.
NBA Comparison: Victor Oladipo
At small forward is the one and only Trevor Lawrence. Jacksonville’s starting quarterback is tied for the second-tallest player on the team at 6’ 6”, and with his height and competitive edge, he just had to be on this team. Small forwards are some of the best players on the court in the NBA, like Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard. Lawrence will still be able to use his skills as a passer because the great small forwards can also distribute the basketball to their teammates. Along with his ability as a playmaker, Trevor’s physical toughness will be crucial; the importance of finishing at the rim in basketball and his off-court leadership are invaluable.
NBA Comparison: Demar Derozan
At power forward, and tied with Trevor for the second-tallest on the team, is offensive tackle Cam Robinson. This is the part of the team where many opponents might criticize our height disadvantage, but as I said before, the physical weight of this team will be one of its biggest advantages. The heaviest player in the NBA right now is Jusuf Nurkic at 290 pounds. And while that is much bigger than me, it is no comparison to the beast that is Cam Robinson. In fact, Robinson has a whole 45 pounds on the heaviest NBA player at 335 pounds. This is an extreme advantage for the team -- and this is only the power forward. While the team might need to place some emphasis on conditioning and stamina because of the sheer back-and-forth running that is the NBA, I believe a high-caliber professional athlete like Robinson will be able to figure it out.
NBA Comparison: Charles Barkley
At center is offensive tackle Walker Little. At 6’ 7”, Little is the tallest player on the Jaguars, so it only makes sense that he is in the center position on our fictional basketball team. While most NBA centers are in the 7-foot range, some may see having a center almost 5 inches less tall as a disadvantage in a game of height. However, as was the case for Robinson, what Little lacks in height he makes up for in weight. Little is whooping 324 pounds, about 35 pounds heavier than the average NBA center. With Little and Robinson down in the paint, this will be a tough and challenging place, much like the offensive line in the NFL. Little’s footwork as an offensive lineman should translate well to the hardwood, where he could be a scoring and rebounding machine.
NBA Comparison: Shaquille O’Neal
This exercise is very interesting to think about. You see a lot of two-sport athletes with football and baseball because of the separate seasons, but none with basketball and football because of the corresponding seasons. In all seriousness, while these are professional athletes on the Jaguars, I don’t think this team wins one game in an NBA regular season game. The talent and skill level are just too much, and the sheer conditioning these NBA players go through is out of this world. While the team might be playing some pickup games during the bye week, I think it’s best if the NBA decides to expand to Jacksonville. The team should pick players through an expansion draft and not steal them from the Jaguars. But I still think Sun City Swishers is a phenomenal team name.